The RA challenge, part 1

Guylty has set a Richard Armitage challenge, and it’s taken me a bit of time to jump in, but here I am! Like some other fans, I’m answering these in batches instead of one by one. The questions posed by Guylty are these:


So, here goes, answers to the first 8 questions…

#1 First encounter with RA

I have blogged about this before, how once when I was sick in bed in the spring of 2006, I stuck a DVD of North and South into my computer that I had gotten from my mom months before but had just never gotten around to watching. She had never seen it either, by the way, she just figured that because I like costume drama, I might like this. In this instance she was right!

#2 The moment that made you fall in love with RA

It has got to be this moment that triggered me to find out everything I could about the man behind the John Thornton character…


I liked him from episode one, but was doing OK not actually falling in love. Then came episode four and ‘Look back at me’ and I felt myself falling down the rabbit hole after all. Really, everything about Richard in that 4th episode of North and South was sucking me in irrevocably. After watching the series (and watching it again and again) I tried to find every interview, every scrap of info I could about the man behind the character. Would I like him? Everything I was finding seemed to suggest I would and then I also saw this interview with him about N&S

At 5 minutes in he is chuffed to be compared to Colin Firth (my then no. 1 crush) as Mr Darcy and very modest about it, at around 7.5 minutes in he mentions “Look back at me” as one of his fave scenes as well and then he has this amused knowing smile about filming the train station scenes with Daniela Denby-Ashe. Yes, I really liked him. Later that year (in 2006) The Vicar of Dibley came around, a comedy that I already very much enjoyed, and it was then that I knew this was not a passing fancy anymore. He was briefly interviewed in the extras on the Dibley DVD (The Story of Dibley) and when I saw him in stitches behind the scenes, I completely lost my heart to him forever (stills source RA Net)…

#3 Favourite piece of fan art

In my North and South craze in 2006 I was hooked on N&S fan fiction (even wrote one myself) but I didn’t document which ones I liked best. I was also hooked on fan videos which were emerging on a then quite young YouTube. I’ve already blogged about which videos I used to love in those early days of Armitage-passion:

Now, in more recent years, I don’t really follow the videos or fan fiction that closely anymore. I see those things, and other creative output such as drawings and paintings and photo edits and plushies and lovely shrines, as they happen upon my path. I truly admire them and love that the fans do this, and sometimes I even covet the art! There is no single piece made by fans that I can really single out but there is one specific piece of art I do love above all others, not made by a fan but by my mother: it’s the watercolour painting she did for me of The Crucible that is now also used as the header of this blog; I even have it as my mobile phone cover!

#4 Something you did because of RA

I travelled to London just for him to see him in The Crucible; I read certain books just because he was going to be in the movie (The Hobbit or Brain on Fire or Summer by Edith Wharton – whatever happened to that project?);  I watched certain shows I otherwise wouldn’t have watched because of him (Hannibal or Spooks); I tried listening to audiobooks because of him (but yeah, failed… audiobooks just aren’t for me); and because, due to my blogging, I am a little more out there in the fandom than I used to be, I have now also even met two fellow Armitage fans in person!

#5 Favourite / Least favourite romance

My favourite romance still has to be John and Margaret in North and South...

But honourable mentions for Harry and Geraldine in The Vicar of Dibley (I mean, come on, that proposal scene was epic!)…

… and, although tragic, the story of John and Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible really touched me…

My least favourite romance is also part of my least favourite character, see next answer.

#6 Least favourite character

Percy Courtenay in Marie Lloyd. The romance went sour very quickly also due to Percy being such a despicable character. I’ve seen this only once and feel no desire whatsoever to see it ever again.

#7 Something you bought because of RA

Flight tickets to London and theatre tickets for The Crucible (see #4) but also DVD’s, Hobbit soundtracks, posters, cinema tickets. I even bought something for Richard once! I gave him typical Dutch syrup waffles in a Delft-blue pot when I met him at the stage door of The Old Vic, something like this:


I do wonder whether he himself ever ate any of them and where the pot ended up…

#8 Favourite / least favourite rivalry

Off the top of my head, the one that sticks with me most and that I think is developed very nicely is the rivalry between John Porter (Richard) and Hugh Collinson (Andrew Lincoln) in Strike Back.

Least favourite rivalry is probably Guy of Gisborne and Robin Hood (Jonas Armstrong). Yes, Richard was nice and broody in this, but I could never warm up to the series. I saw most of series one, then gave up, only watched the Richard bits and fast forwarded through the rest.


Right, that’s it for now! More to come in the hopefully not too distant future. 🙂

17 thoughts on “The RA challenge, part 1

  1. Violet

    I’d never heard of stroopwafels before! Now I will have to hunt them down…for science. 😉
    Loved all your choices, Esther, and am glad you mentioned the audiobooks because – like you – it’s not really my thing. I have most of them but I’d rather read than listen to books. Still, I confess that listening to his voice calms my anxiety. It’s one of his superpowers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 I’m not sure how easily stroopwafels are to be found outside of The Netherlands, but they are very popular here. OK, I did a quick search just now: if you’re in the US, you can apparently order them here:

      Yeah, I love Richard’s voice (superpower, well put!) but audiobooks and I just don’t seem to mix. Even as a kid, when the teacher read a book out loud in class I would zone out. I prefer to read them myself. I can do the Love Poems, though, they are short enough. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Servetus

        Stroopwafels (a single one in a separate package) are currently one of the free inflight snack choices on domestic flights by United Airlines. So I’m guessing they are about to become more popular. They can also often be found at Starbucks — at the cash register there’s a sort of display of small snacks. (However, it’s like $2 for one Stroopwafel).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The “Look back at me” scene really is heartbreaking. I can see how that is the moment to fall in love with (or to fall in love with RA?). I am also amazed how different RA looks in the BTS interview – he seems so much younger than Thornton. Maybe that is because he giggled happily in that interview – not much giggling otherwise from Mr Thornton…
    Fantastic piece of fan art, btw.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, he does look young! And not used to being interviewed. I find that disarming. 🙂 He is so different from Thornton here that that is when I fully realized what a phenomenal acting job he had actually done on ‘North and South’.
      Yeah, the art… ♥ ♥ ♥

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Servetus

        I found this interesting because the first time I saw N&S (the time I didn’t get infected, lol), Dear Friend and I turned on the interview and turned it off almost immediately. She and I both felt like it ruined the illusion created by his work the show. So I didn’t watch all of it until a year later. This is definitely not a interview that made him more attractive to me, although it is useful as material for observing him / his work / his development.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Es war die Erste grössere Anerkennung in seiner Karriere, da muss er sich so gefreut haben! Das strahlt er für much auf jeden Fall aus – auch ein bisschen, als ob er es nicht so recht glauben kann. Süss. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: The RA challenge, part 2 | The Book of Esther

  4. Pingback: The RA challenge, part 3 | The Book of Esther

  5. Pingback: The RA Challenge, part 4 | The Book of Esther

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